The Piedmont Recreation Department’s Walking on Wednesdays group is back roaming the streets of Piedmont. On April 14th members of the group assembled at the Exedra for the first time in over a year. The pandemic made the group stop their walks over a year ago, but when Alameda County went to the Red/Tier 2 level on March 9th the Recreation Department began the process of restarting the activity. A new set of safety protocols were developed that require activity registration, as well as social distancing, masks, limited physical contact, and small size pods during the walks. This April 14th date was also special because it was the third anniversary of the group’s first walk in 2018.
Announcements of the restart were sent to prior walkers, and articles were included in the Piedmont Post and the Recreation Department’s eNewsletter to city residents. Seventeen walkers had registered by last Wednesday for the activity. Schedule conflicts kept some from being able there, but eleven walkers were at the Exedra ready to reconnect with old friends, and make some new ones on this first walk.
Activity volunteer leader Dick Carter welcomed everyone. He said he felt it was important to restart Walking on Wednesdays. During its first two years almost 150 people had participated in the walks, and the activity provides not only physical activity, but also a community for older adults. Past walker Nancy Pinder had said this is really a “twalking group.” Many friendships have been created through Walking on Wednesdays, and it is important to be walking together again.
It was a sunny day and a great one to appreciate the different, beautiful, spring flowers that were all over Piedmont parks and streets. The city’s cherry blossoms were still wonderful and they were one of the day’s focuses. However, before heading out for the flower show, the walkers spread out in front of the Exedra for a group picture.
The group divided itself into two pods that would make social distancing easier. They agreed on a route that would take them to one of their past, favorite destinations, Sea View Avenue; but there were also many flower-filled streets along the way to enjoy. Before walking the streets, the group wanted to see up close the cherry trees and blossoms in front of the Piedmont Community Hall. This walk in the park took the pods to the Japanese Tea House in the park and the trees, flowers and historical plaques around it. The group agreed this spot is a Piedmont treasure.
The walkers emerged from the park on to Highland Avenue, and crossed it to go up the less trafficked Sierra Avenue, and on to Sheridan and Wildwood Avenues. At the corner they admired the lovely flowers in a front yard there, and then continued up Wildwood to and through the Hall Fenway that leads to Crocker Avenue. They went down Crocker to Farragut Avenue and then up it to Seaview Avenue. On Seaview they went north past a front yard with a forest of colorful tulips. They stopped there for another group photo, which is also attached.
The group crossed Hampton Avenue and continued on until Sea View merges into Mountain Avenue. On Mountain they saw a larger-than-life statue of a distinguished gentleman in the front yard of a home. No one had noticed it before on car rides or other walks. They finally took the short, somewhat hidden path from Mountain to Piedmont Court and its cherry trees. Nancy DeRoche pointed out what was their first Piedmont home on the street. It now has a bird house that matches the actual house and also a modern, metal sculpture of a bagpiper in its front yard. Most of the walkers had never been on Piedmont Court before and seen its fun sights.
The group finished their two and a half mile, 90 minute walk back at Highland Avenue. They agreed that you see much more of the things that are all around you when you walk Piedmont’s streets. They also agreed that they felt safe on the walk, and that it was wonderful to be back together reestablishing their Walking on Wednesday community.